02/26/15 4:09pm

Acting City Manager Mark B. Jinks invites the public to two presentations of his proposed Fiscal Year 2016 Operating Budget and Capital Improvement Program.

  • On Tuesday, March 3, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Jinks will formally present the proposed budget to City Council.  The special City Council meeting will be held in the City Council Chamber in Alexandria City Hall, 301 King St.  The meeting is open to the public. No public comment period is scheduled.  The meeting will be cablecast on Comcast channel 70, and live and archived video will be available at www.alexandriava.gov.
  • On Thursday, March 5, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Jinks will present the budgets at a community meeting at the Samuel Tucker Elementary School cafeteria, 435 Ferdinand Day Dr.  Live and archived video will be available at www.alexandriava.gov.  Following his presentation, Jinks will answer questions from in-person attendees and online viewers.

Proposed budget documents will be available at www.alexandriava.gov on March 3, at 5 p.m.  City Council will review the proposed budget and conduct a series of work sessions and public hearings culminating with adoption on May 7.

For a detailed schedule, see www.alexandriava.gov/Budget.

02/26/15 3:52pm

2014 GW Birthday Parade

SmarTrip® Add Value Initiative

DASH Bus flyerAlexandria Transit Company (ATC) has announced two community meeting dates for discussion of the new fare collection process on DASH buses. Effective April 1, 2015, riders will no longer be able to add value to a SmarTrip® card on board DASH buses. This initiative will make the DASH system the first in the region to take the process of adding value off of the bus.

Meeting Locations:

  • Wednesday, March 4 at 6:00 p.m.
    William Ramsay Elementary School, 5700 Sanger Ave., Alexandria, VA 22311
  • Wednesday, March 18 at 6:00 p.m.
    Mount Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Ave., Alexandria, VA 22305         

By eliminating the add value function on the bus, riders will experience a more convenient ride on DASH with less hassle, ease in boarding, and reliable departures and arrivals. The Plan Ahead…Pay it Forward Campaign will provide many useful tools for riders to learn about the numerous ways that they can add value to their SmarTrip® Card without the need of adding it on the bus.

Riders can add value to their SmarTrip® Card:

  • Online at www.wmata.com/fares/smartrip
  • At any Metrorail Station
  • At the Alexandria Transit Store located across from the King Street Metro at 1775-C Duke Street
  • At participating CVS and Giant Locations
  • At Arlington and Fairfax Commuter Stores

In addition to paying with a SmarTrip® Card to ride DASH, riders can always pay the $1.60 fare with cash or use DASH’s deeply discounted, money-saving monthly DASH Pass! The DASH Pass is good for unlimited rides on all DASH buses, on all routes, in any direction, for a full calendar month, and costs only $40. For details, visit www.dashbus.com/DASHPass.

For more information on the Plan Ahead…Pay it Forward add value initiative, visit www.dashbus.com/PlanAhead.

02/26/15 2:23pm

Panera Bread in Carlyle neighborhood of Alexandria Virginia - awning

As readers know, the new Panera Bread in the Carlyle neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia opened yesterday (February 25). One of our readers chimed in with his thoughts on the new joint.

Hi Lee –

The new Panera opened today at Dulany and Jamieson.  Not your father’s Panera!  The new place is almost entirely focused on take-out and delivery; there are only a few dining tables.  They told me they will deliver any order $5.00 or more, anywhere within an 8 minute drive (whoever determines how far that is).

They were packed to the rafters all through lunch today, but the kitchen was kicking out the food pretty quickly, especially considering they just opened (and didn’t do a soft open beforehand).  You can order online, or at kiosks in the store, or if you’re of the old school you can order from an actual person at the counter.

I am curious as to whether Carlyle can support three sandwich shops in a three-square-block area.  My crystal ball is on the fritz, but my gut says no, and that if you are a fan of Potbelly, perhaps you might want to get over there soon.

I don’t know how familiar you are with Panera.  We have traveled a lot by car in the past, and Panera is one of the few quick-service places along highways that isn’t all fried food, so we eat there quite a bit.  They are fast and inexpensive, and the focus is on soups, sandwiches and salads.  Like any good multi-unit operation they are consistent; my ham sandwich and side of mac and cheese was the same here as it would have been at any other Panera.

For the time being they are giving away 50% discount coupons, you have to have their membership card (which is free) and you have to order online to use the coupons.

02/26/15 1:59pm

pet photo

REMINDER: Please consider sharing a photo of your own pet by emailing it to me at lee[at]redbricktown[dot]us or drop it in our Flickr Pool. Please let us know the name of your pet and the neighborhood where you live.

We Alexandrians L O V E love our pets. For today’s pet photo of the day (taken by my wife Ann), here is our Bea and Serena trying to keep warm during today’s snowfall in the Carlyle neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia.

02/26/15 1:25pm

Call.Click.ConnectThe City of Alexandria would like your input on its customer service system

Call.Click.Connect. is designed to allow community members to submit service requests, report problems, search for information, or find contact information by either calling a dedicated HELP line or accessing the Call.Click.Connect. website.

In its continuing efforts to improve communication and services to its residents, the City is reaching out to the community and asking for feedback on experiences with Call.Click.Connect. to determine how it can be made more effective and easy to use.